BEFORE MAKING A REPLACEMENT, CONSIDER THESE METAL ROOF RESTORATION PRODUCTS FOR YOUR FACILITY
Can Metal Roof Restoration Products Extend the Life of Your Roof?
Many building owners and facility managers often decide that they need to remove and replace their metal roof at the first sign of failure, rather than examining their options to repair their roof. Pulling the trigger too soon on roof replacement is almost as bad as waiting too long and neglecting your roofing system. There are many choices available to building owners with a faulty metal roof, so don’t resort immediately to replacement. Also, don’t delay and neglect your roof until it’s too late; you need to find a balance between proactivity and research.
If your metal roof has reached the end of its life, has developed severe leaking problems, or has become damaged, don’t immediately think you must replace the roof. At this point, since you detected the problem early thanks to your diligent roof inspections, there are several options available to you.
If the roof is still structurally sound and capable of bearing weight, you can repair the damaged areas. This may mean installing new metal panels, possibly new skylights, or patching leaks in the roof. Slightly more of a hassle than using metal roof restoration products (next paragraph), this is still a better option than total replacement, if the roof can survive without complete replacement.
Your second option at this point is to coat the roof with a spray applied or roll applied coating. This option is available only if the roof is still in good working condition but is leaking. You may need to make some small repairs and patches, but overall the roof should be in decent working condition to receive a coating.
Thirdly, you can completely replace the roofing system. This will be the most expensive option available, although there are some energy incentives and tax breaks available. This should be considered a last resort because of its cost and impact on the environment. When you replace your roof, you have to tear off the old system, possibly make structural changes depending on the severity of the damage of the old roof, and then install the new roofing system. Sometimes this is required, but it will save you money and hassle to consider some metal roof restoration products before choosing this. If you do have to replace your entire roofing system, there are some key questions you should ask yourself before doing so to make sure your reasoning is correct.
What You Need To Know Before Making a Decision
Whether you choose one of these metal roof restoration products, roof repair, or roof replacement when you run into roofing troubles, there are some key things you need to know about your roof, your environment, and metal roofs as a whole. Actually, you need to develop an understanding of these things before making a decision, as knowledge of these factors could impact what you ultimately choose. If you choose an option for taking care of your failing metal roof that requires a contractor, check out this list of questions to ask the contractor prior to selecting them.
Details of Your Roof
Before you make any decisions, you need to know everything about your roof that a contractor will want to know. This way, if you need to consult a contractor (whether for repairs, applying restoration coatings, or replacement), you will have the knowledge of your roof which can help in negotiations with the contractor. Some questions the contractor will ask you will be simple, but others are more in-depth and may require research. You should strive to know all the answers your contractor will ask before they ask them.
Your Building’s Environment
The environment around your building can shorten its roof life, make it a poor candidate for metal roof restoration products, or have no impact on it. It all depends on the specific environment your building is located in. Chemicals, climate, paint, and many other factors can impact your roof’s life, stability for repairs, and acceptance of restoration coatings.
Different Types of Metal Roofs
Before making a decision on your roof, it is also important that you understand the different types of metal roofs available to you and what type of roof you have. There are four common roof types and the types of repairs and cost of replacement will vary with each one, so it is important that this knowledge weighs in on your decision.
Metal Roof Restoration Products Available
The first metal roof restoration product you will need to evaluate is a primer. We recommend a Rust Inhibitive Primer if you have rust or a general purpose primer if you simply have poor adhesion. Before you make a decision on a primer, you need to ask yourself the following questions: Does your building have rust? Is it old enough to accept a spray applied coating without a primer? Does the coating you are interested in using adhere to metal with or without a primer? These questions must be answered before making a decision, because how you answer these determines what type of primer you need.
The next aspect of your decision is the actual metal roof restoration product. There are three types of coatings that you should consider to restore your roof: 1) Silicone, 2) acrylic, and 3) aluminum. There are many other types of coatings out there and available to you, but these are the most common.
Silicone coatings are the top of the line coating product available. They have been specially formulated over the years to be the highest performing coating on the market. Thanks to their strong cross-linking formulation and moisture-curing properties, silicone coatings are capable of withstanding ponding water, are highly reflective, form an extremely tightly bonded monolithic membrane, and can generally applied without a primer. Those are some of the key benefits of silicone coatings, but there are many others.
Silicone coatings are extremely versatile and have a number of different uses. While they can be applied in many situations and have many uses, they are still extremely high performers at the “little things”, such as bonding tightly and completely to metal roofs.
The largest drawback to silicone coatings is typically the material cost. They are generally going to cost more per square foot of material than all other roof restoration coatings. However, because the installation is so easy and the material lasts for so long, these coatings are generally worth the investment and then some, as you will save money as compared to the other coatings. If you want the best coating, silicone is the way to go. You will pay more for material, but you have to consider the costs and benefits of the overall roofing system, not just the cost of material.
Acrylic coatings have been around for longer than silicone coatings, and they are still the most popular roof restoration coating material available. They are the low cost material in the metal roof restoration market, and that is mainly because the raw materials and the performance of this material don’t stand up to those of the other coatings.
Acrylic coatings can be spray applied to many different surfaces; a primer is usually required to achieve proper adhesion to the roof. Because they have very low solids, generally no higher than 55%, acrylic coatings cannot be applied very thick in single coatings. If you want to apply them to a thick millage, you will need to do so in two or more coats.
Probably the most significant drawback of acrylic coatings is that they cannot resist ponding water, meaning if you get a lot of rain or don’t have perfect drainage on your roof, you will get leaks soon. This is one of the four key differences between acrylic and silicone coatings that we have written about before.
Aluminum Roof Coatings
Aluminum roof coatings can be spray or roll applied onto many different roof surfaces. Like acrylic coatings, they too often need a primer to achieve proper adhesion. They are typically about 50% reflective of UV rays, meaning they allow the other 50% to be absorbed into the building.
A key advantage of aluminum roof coatings on metal roof restoration projects are that they don’t have to be applied thick at all, a rate of 1.25 gallons per square is typically enough to achieve good coverage. However, this is a very thin coating at that rate and will need to be replaced in about 7 years; low labor and material costs tradeoff for more frequent replacement.
Probably the biggest disadvantage of aluminum coatings is that they are not a waterproof coating – they are only designed to aid in waterproofing your roof. Their main purpose is to improve the reflectivity of your roof, and therefore reduce your energy bill. If you are looking for a coating to stop leaks in your roof, this is not the best choice for you.
If you have a roof, chances are you will have leaks and failures that must be repaired or replaced. You also have a third option, metal roof restoration products, such as a silicone coating, which can extend the life of your roof and improve its performance for the duration of its life.
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